Cubs Rumors: Team 'remains focused' on both Cody Bellinger, Matt Chapman

The showdown between Jed Hoyer and Scott Boras continues, even as the Cubs get their Cactus League schedule underway.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Cubs spring training baseball is underway, with the Cactus League schedule getting underway on Friday with a lopsided 8-1 win over the crosstown rival White Sox at Sloan Park. Still, the roster could very well change between now and Opening Day, especially when it comes to the top two remaining free agent position players still available in Matt Chapman and Cody Bellinger.

According to the latest from The Athletic (subscription required), the Cubs 'remain focused' on Bellinger and, 'to a lesser extent,' Chapman. Both fit in the team's current roster construction, although the former's ability to play in the outfield and at first definitely makes him a more logical fit, especially on a multi-year deal.

For the time being, the center field job looks to belong to Pete Crow-Armstrong, although we'll definitely see Mike Tauchmann get plenty of reps out there this spring. New manager Craig Counsell is giving Christopher Morel, who hit a two-run homer in his first at-bat Friday, a good, long look at third, hoping he can seize the job and be the everyday guy there heading into 2024.

Free agent market remains frozen; Cubs remain a logical fit for not only the top guys, but several other next-tier bats, as well

Not bringing in any more free agents, whether it be Bellinger or Chapman or the next tier of guys like JD Martinez, is a plan that comes with a ton of risk, particularly on the offensive side of things. The general expectation and hope is that guys like Crow-Armstrong and Michael Busch hit and do so consistently but the truth is no one knows if that'll happen.

Adding in veteran bats to what's a fairly young team seems like a no-brainer. But until the Boras clients come off the board, the market seems frozen, preventing those other guys from signing because teams that have interest in them are also waiting on resolution on the big names. So that's keeping Jed Hoyer (and multiple other GMs) from pivoting to backup plans in the meantime.

The likeliest resolution to all this still feels like a Bellinger reunion with the Cubs. The hope was his market would be weak and he'd remain unsigned late in the offseason. Now that it's played out exactly the way Chicago had hoped, we have to wait and see if they can get a deal done.